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2013 MLB Draft Prospects: 5 Potential Busts from the 1st Round

Joe GiglioContributor IJune 6, 2013

2013 MLB Draft Prospects: 5 Potential Busts from the 1st Round

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    The start of the 2013 MLB draft at MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey will represent the next generation of the sport, likely supply baseball with several future All-Stars and potentially players who will one day be enshrined in Cooperstown.

    Of course, there will also be many mistakes made.

    Through a combination of injury, regression, player development issues and bad luck, several, if not more, players selected in Thursday's first round will fail to become productive big league players.

    Here's a look at those with red flags that fans should keep an eye on over the next few years.

    If it all goes to plan, they'll be part of the rosters for many All-Star games from, say, around 2017 and beyond.

    If those red flags flare up, they'll end up cautionary tales for later draft classes and talent evaluators.

    Without further ado, five potential busts from the first round of the 2013 MLB draft.

1. RHP Kohl Stewart, St. Pius X HS (Texas)

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    If Kohl Stewart's future was set in stone, or, in other words, if there was 100 percent certainty that he was fully committed to the game of baseball, his name would not be included in this list.

    In fact, his stuff, upside and youth should have any team salivating if he's available to them with their pick on Thursday evening.

    Yet, the lure of football at Texas A&M and how a dual-sport commitment or mentality may influence his development should be a red flag.

    For a general manager picking early tonight, he could be too talented to pass up, but too risky to bank the future of an organization on.

2. Of Austin Meadows, Grayson HS (Ga.)

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    When it comes to projecting high school kids with five tools, the best barometer for future success is probably not current or past high school baseball statistics.

    Assessing Meadows is about upside, how well he can hit and where his athleticism will take him.

    Yet the specter of his gifts failing to match his production remains a small concern moving forward.

    If the Georgia high school product fails to hit like a star, it's not because he didn't have the talent, but rather couldn't manifest that talent into real, big league production.

    Coaching will be key here. If Meadows receives the tutelage needed, along with patience necessary to hone his gifts, he'll be a real player.

    If not, the bust moniker could follow.

3. SS J.P. Crawford, Lakewood HS (Calif.)

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    Every team looks for different tools when evaluating the future potential of a baseball prospect. From speed to power to defense, the way a scout ranks the attributes of a young player can go a long way into determining how high of a pick will be used to secure the kid.

    In the case of Crawford, it's clear that he has the glove, agility and instincts to play shortstop at a high level. The idea of him developing into a top-flight defensive shortstop in the big leagues, in the vein of an Andrus or Simmons, isn't outrageous.

    Yet his bat is more hope than certainty.

    If it comes around, Crawford can provide value in every way possible. If not, he may not be more than a utility player down the line.

4. LHP Sean Manaea, Indiana St.

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    When I watch video of Manaea and read the work of our own Mike Rosenbaum on everything MLB draft, two names come to mind for the lean, lanky college left-handed pitcher: Chris Sale and Oliver Perez.

    The stark difference between the two (despite Ollie's very underrated 2004 season in Pittsburgh) landed Manaea on my Boom or Bust list earlier this week.

    If he can find a way to repeat his delivery on a consistent basis, the team that selects him during the early rounds on Thursday night could fall into a future ace.

    On the other hand, his career could fail to take off, or, in a case like Perez, stall at a certain point.

    The stuff is there, but consistency can derail it to land Manaea in bust territory.

5. Jonathan Crawford, RHP, Florida

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    After throwing a no-hitter and jumping onto the prospect mat last season at the University of Florida, Crawford came into this May with an ERA over 4.00, failing to dominate at the same rate as his sophomore year in the SEC.

    The stuff and success are there, but it's a red flag when performance dips close to the draft.

    While some prospects, think Matt Harvey at UNC, grew to the level of top-10 selection in their junior season, Crawford didn't take that leap.

    If it was just a down season in the SEC, a team late in the first round may have a steal.

    If there's more to the dip in dominance, Crawford could be a bust.

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